D.C. Bike Share a Victim of Its Own Success

With 174 stations in DC, and more than 200 throughout the region, Capital Bikeshare has logged almost 5 million rides since it launched in 2010. The program's immense popularity has caused some problems however, with demand often outstripping supply.

1 minute read

August 8, 2013, 9:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


"Born in 2010, the bike-share service has spread to Arlington and Alexandria, signed a contract for expansion into Montgomery County and this year is approaching 1 million trips logged by subscribers," writes Nicole Chavez. "In some ways, such rapid growth is a nice problem to have. But it can still be a problem."

"Those who have paid $75 for an annual subscription for unlimited trips of up to 30 minutes sometimes can’t get wheels when they want them," she explains. "Other times, they get the bike but not the slot to dock it in. And workers constantly struggle to balance the number of bikes and empty spaces in bicycle stations across the city. In 2010, one van shifted about 300 bikes a day. Now, six vans move 1,000 bikes daily, from 5 a.m. to 1 the next morning."

“It’s hard, because we are stuck in traffic like everyone else,” said Eric Gilliland, Capital Bikeshare’s director of operations.


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